IT Governance in Higher Education Institutions in Abu Dhabi, UAE

IT Governance in Higher Education Institutions in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Racha Ajami (United Arab Emirates University, UAE) and Nabeel Al-Qirim (Faculty of Information Technology, UAE University, Al-Ain, UAE)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/ijitbag.2013070101
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With IT affecting all aspects of university’s/school’s academic and professional affairs, an efficient IT governance (ITG) is required to assure that all kinds of expensive and complex information technology is appropriately governed. Despite the importance of IT; there has been limited research looking at how ITG is implemented in higher education institution or how to harness its benefits. This research focuses on how ITG is adopted and implemented in higher education institutions in UAE by considering the case of two different universities. The research proposes a theoretical framework derived from COBIT and Six Sigma to help in governing IT in higher education institutions. The framework will help in directing different processes toward evaluating any decision concerning the alignment and compatibility of IT with the overall strategies and goals of higher education institutions. This is achieved to increase services quality over time, aligning and supporting business strategies, and controlling and minimizing IT risks in order to increase stakeholder’s value and reducing cost.
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1. Introduction

IT Governance (ITG) is a term that indicates specifying decision rights and accountability framework to encourage desirable behaviour in the use of IT (Weill & Ross, 2004). In other words, ITG describes who makes which decisions, who sets priorities, who provides inputs and who analyse issues. ITG in not about making specific decisions, management does that, but rather determines who systematically makes and contributes to those decisions (Weill & Ross, 2004; ITGI, 2007).

ITG started to appear in the literature in late 90’s. Since then, implementation and improvements need was recognized by IT management across the world. Haes and Grembergen (2005) anticipated that ITG can be implemented through a framework that consists of three main key elements; Structures, Processes and Relational Mechanisms. The Structure component consists of the IT organization structure and main roles and responsibilities, processes and relational mechanisms. Processes entail thestrategic Information System planning and the use of different ITG frameworks. Whereas Relational mechanismsinvolve partnership rewards and incentives, collaboration between stakeholders, and IT training and rotation (Haes & Grembergen, 2005; Bhattacharjya & Chang, 2006; Bhattacharjya, 2006).

With IT affecting all aspects of university’s/school’s academic and business affairs, an efficient ITG is required to assure that all kinds of expensive and complex information technology is appropriately governed. Dewey and DeBlois (2006) found that Governance, Organization and Leadership have constantly stood among the top 10 issues of strategic importance in organizations. Despite the development of procedures in terms of ITG for business organizations, many higher education institutions have shown great interest in implementing these procedures to manage their IT (Dewey & DeBlois, 2006). However, despite the importance of IT in the education industry, there has been not enough research focusing on how ITG may be implemented in higher education institution. “An effective ITG structure is the single most important predictor of getting value from IT (ITGI, 2009; Weill, 2004). Accordingly, the following research question is posited: how can we improve ITG adoption and implementation in higher education institutions in UAE. Answering this question can be reached by answering the following sub-questions:

  • 1.

    Process: How IT is aligned to corporate Goals and strategies in UAE universities?

  • 2.

    Identification: What are the most commonly used ITG frameworks in UAE universities?

  • 3.

    Selection Criteria: On what basis ITG frameworks and tools were chosen in UAE universities?

  • 4.

    Outcomes: How ITG implementation effect higher educational institutions in UAE universities?

This research will propose a framework based on COBIT (ITGI, 2007) and Six Sigma (Pande & Holpp, 2001). The reasons for selecting COBIT and Six Sigma is due to their appropriateness to the educational context (Al-Atiqi & Deshpande,2009; Ribeiro & Gomes, 2009).

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